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Hong Kong MSO license: getting and benefits

Hong Kong MSO license: getting and benefits

Hong Kong is recognized as the fourth financial center on the world stage. This is the reason for its attractiveness to entrepreneurs all over the world. If you are among those considering Hong Kong for a financial service business, it’s essential to obtain the MSO license first. 

How to obtain Hong Kong payment license 

Companies planning to carry out exchange operations or financial transactions in the territory of Hong Kong SAR or from it must primarily obtain special permission. Currency exchange and/or monetary transactions must be the main company activity. In this case, a Money Service Operation (MSO) license will be required. 

The license enables the provision of the following services:

  • Currency exchange within or from the territory of Hong Kong
  • Tranche from Hong Kong to anywhere in the world
  • Transfer of funds from other jurisdictions to SAR
  • Transaction outside Hong Kong

Without a payment license, the provision of financial services in Hong Kong is forbidden and punishable by a prison sentence or fine. 

Pros and cons of Hong Kong payment system

Besides the fact that the Hong Kong economy itself attracts entrepreneurs in many ways, the MSO license has a range of advantages for those providing financial services.  

Including:

  • low tax burden
  • governmental support
  • transparent legal framework
  • loyal attitude to legal entities/individuals that are registered in another state

The license is in operation for two years. It can be extended in case of satisfactory performance only. The given payment license has no disadvantages per se. There is a condition that complicates the acquisition of MSO for foreign companies: an obligatory office rent. This term is thoroughly audited by a committee board that decides on the Hong Kong MSO license approval. 

Who can get Hong Kong payment license

There are no actual limitations among those claiming the MSO license. Companies with limited and unlimited liability registered in Hong Kong, as well as foreign [both residents and non-residents] can get it. Tentatively, every company, regardless the residence status, must pass a special test confirming the absence of corruption in the company. Moreover, every applicant for the payment license must register an office/building where: 

  • working activity is carried out
  • meetings with clients are held
  • ad activity takes place
  • work is controlled by licensee 

These are initial and necessary requirements for those willing to obtain an MSO license, regardless of the company location.  

How to obtain Hong Kong MSO license

When your company confirmed the lack of unreliable or corrupted employees and registered an office, the next step is filing the documents. Papers to be filed must be thoroughly prepared in order to shorten the term of granting of the license. The package of documents includes: 

  • business registration certificate and articles of incorporation;
  • lease agreement;
  • declaration forms about a convenient individual who meets the requirements laid down;
  • facilitation letter with partners or board of directors’ signatures, that confirmed their approval for the application.

Additional documents, besides the main ones, can be requested. After obtaining the MSO license, you are to appoint a compliance manager and an employee who will monitor compliance with the law on money laundering. It takes three months and more to have the licensee approved, provided that all stages of verification are completed, and additional documents are not required.  

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